eDesign Reveal: Retro Fun-ky Bathroom

You guys. That accent wall. That is all I can say.

My friend Autumn gave me a ring and told me she desperately needed some help with her hall/guest bath. I had given her some advice on her kitchen before so I knew her style - MCM/funkadelic. I know Autumn from college, but haven't seen her in years. I've never been to her home in Michigan, but was up to the  task since eDesign is something I offer regularly. She sent me the photos of  her bathroom and walked me through it. 

While not the most horrible bathroom I've ever seen, it definitely was not looking like Autumn's style. Autumn is a fun, mid-century modern, retro loving girl. We decided since this bathroom was the guest bath, we could go a little more funky in here than what she had done in her kitchen. She did give me some parameters to work with, though. 

1. She couldn't afford to gut and remove everything. This wasn't a total redo, just a makeover. So we were stuck with the flooring and retro-old school shower tile. To be honest, I would've removed the shower tile if I were renovating this house for a flip. It's just not the sort of thing most people would be down for. HOWEVER, I was totally digging that we "had" to work with this gold tile. That shower tile is one of those things that I (and she) thought was pretty cool, but know it's not for everyone. Doesn't matter. This bathroom isn't for everyone, it's for her and her family.

2. We could replace the counter and backsplash tile.

3. We had to keep the sink and vanity base. Luckily, Autumn had a carpenter dude that could help us out with fixing up the vanity. The rest had to go. 

Everything else was fair game. So, I went to work on designing. Often when I'm designing I hit this sort of wall where I'm like you know this is just not fun enough....might as well be builder grade. Maybe you call it "writer's block". Nothing inspiring or special is coming out of my brain. Then I poke through to outside the box and find something that makes me think, "Hmmm, I wonder if they'll go for this." At this point I have to stop. Everything comes to a halt. If I'm about to make this super awesome decision and base everything else around it, then there is no reason to move forward without the client's consent. I hate wasting time just to start all the way over.  That moment came when I found this super funky wallpaper from Coloray Decor. I shit you not, I did not choose it for its name: Autumn Flowers.

I dread that call where I have to say, "I have a crazy AF idea and I don't know if you'll go for it." Ok, dread is a strong word. It's more of a "this person is going to think either think this is brilliant or that I'm a crazy person. No in between" Last thing you want is for your client to think you're way off base so yeah these phone calls are a little nerve racking. 

Well, she went for it! The floral wallpaper was the perfect accent wall funkiness to add to this retro-esque bathroom.  With the wallpaper decided, the rest of the design came together. 

A few things ended up getting tweaked but most of the design remained. Every design I deliver has a design board with details to the side along with a spreadsheet for each item needed to pull of the design, links to buy, quantities and total material budget. Some have an accompanying room layout. Some have a sketch to describe further detail.

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The rest of the elements worked around the wallpaper and existing features that had to remain. She had a door on the other side of the room that was a natural wood (seen below) she didn't really want to paint so I wanted to bring in another wood element somewhere.

The butcher block was an easy choice. Not only is butcher block inexpensive, it is easy to cut and install.

The next element I had to deal with was the mirror and lighting situation. The vanity was super long at 76". I didn't want to be all boring and have a super large, expensive AF mirror. Nothing fun in that. Since this is the hall bath, it is conceivable that there may be a couple of people getting ready in here at once, so one mirror wouldn't do not to mention such a large vanity with just one small mirror would look unbalanced. So, we went with 3 smaller mirrors with a single sconce above each.

Also in this area was the vanity base. The doors and hinges were not looking too good so Autumn's carpenter outfitted it with new flat front doors. Such an easy way to update a huge vanity like this. Replacing it completely would've cost mucho dollars.

What you can't see in those other photos was the toilet "nook". My original design included a green accent wall instead of the wallpaper. We didn't want to lose that green so we opted to put it behind the toilet. You can see it when you look in the mirrors which is a nice touch. The vintage telephone stand makes a great TP holder and complements the vintage - retro vibe. I have one of these stands in my own bathroom and it makes for an excellent TP stand. You can put one roll on the top and it will hold 3-5 rolls below. You could obviously put magazines and other things in there if you plan on camping out for a while. :)

And the moment we all love, the BEFORE AND AFTER Photos!!!

I love how everything looks fresher. The floral wall obviously is very vibrant, but the counter just feels more natural, one of the reasons I love using real materials like butcher block.

I'm now working on a closet design for Autumn and can't wait to see how it turns out. She's an awesome friend/client who is not only not afraid to be bold, but she also gets things done fast. Right up my alley for someone who loves to get her some photos! Stay tuned for the closet!


Sources

Butcher Block Counter - Lowes

Mirrors - West Elm

Sconce Lights - Etsy

Shelves - World Market

Sink + Faucet: IKEA

Toilet Paper/Telephone Stand  - Etsy

Wallpaper - Etsy

Schoolhouse Kitchen Design

I LOVE SMALL KITCHENS. 

LOVE THEM.

The wonderful thing about them is that there's hardly any room to spend a lot of money. So, the challenge becomes geometry more than anything. What's even better is starting from scratch. Tear it all out, put the water and electric where you want it and make an entirely reconfigured space. This kitchen started from this:

Luckily the slate was wiped clean. Almost everything was torn out including that door to the right. There was already another exit to the back deck so we didn't need the one in the kitchen. Fewer obstructions like windows and doors = so much room for activities! Here's the blank slate floor plan in which you can see the other doorway to the back deck (and basement) on the right. The original kitchen exit door was in the top wall on the rendering.

I went to work first on the layout.  This was one of the trickiest floor plans. The most obvious and frankly, the best possible scenario would have been to have a peninsula parallel the dining room (which is at the bottom of the rendering, out of the picture). However, this would mean either jamming the range and fridge together on the back wall (top of the rendering), or having the range in the peninsula.

Me no likey.

Putting the range in the peninsula would mean having a hood smack dab in the middle. I don't like that either. It blocks the view and clutters things up. Clutter is dumb. What to do!?!? I had to stop myself and demand that I think outside the box. Think of a different shape. Think of a different way. And then the clouds parted and the new layout was born. 

Like I said, it's not the ideal. The ideal would've been a nice bar area alongside the dining room, but that wasn't happening. In this new plan we get bar seating and space between all of the appliances. In order to have the bar next to the basement stairs and not feel like you were blocking the pathway, we used 12" wall cabinets that the contractor built up onto a base instead of using standard 24" base cabinets. Now the stools could slide under and out of the way. If you are sitting at the peninsula, you are 12" closer to the kitchen (further from the basement stairwell) than if you used standard base cabinets. 

Next was putting together a look. That was not so difficult. The schoolhouse-industrial vibe is big in Cincinnati, so I went with what the people (and I) like. I also wanted to make sure the small kitchen felt clean and spacious. So, I kept the color palette to black and white. Once you have a direction in your mind, it's a matter of plucking all the pieces that will make it happen.

Side note:

I knew Nicole at Revival Designs was going to be staging the home. I knew her stuff would look excellent in this space. Keep the appropriate decor and furnishings in mind! All kitchen designs can feel sterile if you don't consider the decor. I usually include items such as plants, kitchen gadgets and artwork in my designs so people can see how it will come together. Had I left out the cutting board, stool and the photo with the styled countertop, my client might not have been impressed. Design is not just tile and cabinets. You must be able to see the big picture.

The design turned out exactly as I had hoped. 

The floors under the layers of grossness were actually salvageable! I love how they run diagonally and much more interest than any tile could have provided.

This layout provides easy access to the kitchen from the dining room without having to walk around a peninsula. It also provides seating for three. Another bar stool can be added there on the end. Another perk of this design is the cost of the materials. You just can't get any less expensive than subway tile and black granite. Ok, you can, that's a lie. But, seriously these materials are both good quality AND classic design. There's always the allure of fancy tiles and higher end slabs, but usually it is unnecessary. 

And the ever popular before and after photo...

I love the simplicity of this design. Every detail from top to bottom was considered. It must've worked because this house, a house flip in Cincinnati, was under contract in 2 days! Did I mention I live in Phoenix? Long distance design is a thing. Design services for your space, wherever you may be, are available starting at $250. Click here for more info. More details about this kitchen are in the design board below. Click through to get info on each item.

Renovation Design Capsule 2: Spring 2016

Last time I wrote about a design capsule, I wasn't sure I'd ever do so again. After all, it was supposed to be a tried and true template. It was meant to be classic. It was meant to never need changing. This theory lives on, the Renovation Design Capsule of Winter 2016 is still tried and true.  It works! However, I did consider in the back of my head that I would someday want to change it. I do that sort of thing. Often. And so, it's true I wanted more. Let's not call this a change. Let's call it the second capsule in a series . After all, just because one exists doesn't mean another can't as well. I'm convinced that design styles change simply because designers get bored. Plus, variety is the spice of life, amiright? 

So, RDS 2 was born. Winter is over. Spring and almost summer is in the air. Let's punch this up a notch. 

Renovation Design Capsule 2: Spring 2016

Renovation Design Capsule 2: Spring 2016

What's new about this one is the brighter colors added. I just love the colors of nature, so we have some deep blue and bright green to brighten up the place. Here's a recent design for an investor client's flip using that delicious green color. 

 

The finishes are the same, but check out some of the new fixture styles I'm loving. I'm also digging some plays on the classic patterns. Sure we've got the hex and subway tile in there but these versions are elongated. Planks are still going strong and I threw some penny rounds in there for shits and gigs. The part I really want to implement going forward is some geometric pattern whether it's like this modern wainscoting or tossing around some X's in barn doors or capping off island ends. This could really get fun and ridiculous. 

Finally, the material section. I'm still loving the ceramic tile, marble and natural wood obvs. Guys, I still dig me some granite. It is just so random and delicious. The variations are wonderful. It's a natural product. I love it.

Now, let's talk about the quartz. People are all over this stuff here in Phoenix. Did I mention I moved? I say people are obsessed with it from the perspective of a person that has been looking for and talking houses here for 1 week...K. Clearly I don't have that much research under my belt. I'm not sold on quartz. It's a natural material-ish. Supposedly, in my 5.3 seconds of Googling, quartz counters are 96% crushed quartz jammed together with a resin. Scientifically speaking. Resin ain't real, people. Sometimes they throw glass in there. I don't like sparkly specks. I don't like glass in my counters. I like real. Maybe I'm just a quartz newb and don't know what I'm talking about. They say it's easier to maintain and more durable. I've had granite for YEARS and have never had an issue. It's not like it's going to melt away. Or, maybe like me, people just got bored with the same thing. That's possible. My answer to that is to stop using Uba freakin' Tuba. Unless it's leathered Uba Tuba. That's cool. 

What was I talking about again?

Let's end this post right here. Shall we?

 

Bathroom Design: Rustic Modern + Funky

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Before

Yet another bathroom in need of some serious help! The owner of this tired bathroom, Jen and her husband, are tired of the small outdated look of their bathroom. They have room in their master bedroom to extend the bathroom a bit. They also wanted to incorporate the current walk in closet into the renovation somehow. Their main focus was to expand the bathroom space with hopes of adding a garden tub. I was up to the challenge. Here's the current space. 

Master Bedroom wall with closet and bathroom entrance
Vanity wall in master bath

Layout

The current layout, as seen in the top drawing below, has a long and narrow bathroom and closet. The entrances to both rooms tie up the entire wall space of the master bedroom. The new layout, shown in the bottom drawing, bumps that bathroom and closet wall into the master bedroom space allowing the bathroom footprint to expand in both length and width. The master closet gains just 7 sf but is no longer visible from the bedroom. 

The new layout allows a ton to happen for the new rooms. 

  • The entrance to the master closet is now through the bathroom. This frees up that wall in the master for a dresser or seating area. It also allows one person to sleep in peace if the other person is getting ready earlier in the morning. No going back and forth from the closet to the bathroom. 
  • The bathroom was widened and lengthened in order to add a garden tub. It's placed at the end of the room in front of the window while a stand up shower sits next to it. They can be separated by glass in order to keep light flowing through from both directions. 
  • A sliding barn door is added to the bathroom instead of a swing door in order to keep the floor space in front of the vanities free from obstruction. This could be a pocket door if they prefer that style.
  • Because of the garden tub addition, the linen closet had to go. This is not a deal breaker in my opinion. That extra 7 square feet in the master closet could house linens and other bathroom items and could be placed directly in front of the doorway between his and her clothing areas. Another option is to add shelving above the garden tub and toilet. They may also decide to choose vanities with drawers for greater organization. 

Issues

An issue in any situation like a layout change is dealing with structural supports. I have not been in the space, nor am I qualified to make structural decisions, so Jen and her husband should rely on a contractor and structural engineer before deciding to move any walls. Usually walls can come and go, it's just a matter of counterbalancing the weight of the structure somewhere else. Plumbing, venting and electrical will also need to be rerouted. Moving and removing walls always seems so easy and fun but there is always a price tag involved.

Design

Jen wanted something modern but with some funkiness to it. I'm always looking for renovations to last fore a long time so I go with funkiness in the decor, not the renovation. I rip out too many old bathrooms and kitchens to feel good about putting something back in that will be dated in the near future. So, I like to go with good ole trusty subway tile which will be in for quite a while. The easiest to swap out is the decor. Add some funky artwork and a funky rug to spruce it up and she can change it out when she bores of it or wants a different color.

As always, I love hearing from everyone about their likes and dislikes about designs. Call it research. What do you think? If you like something let me know. If you don't, constructive criticism is appreciated. :) 

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